Jessica Halverson of INTake Weekly, The Indianapolis Star’s weekly entertainment guide, did a story on me, RockMusicReview.com, and the cassette mix tapes I produced on May 11, 2006.

INTake Weekly: “Mixed Up On Tape”

From the weepy-eyed anthems of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s to the frantic eclecticism of newcomers Everthus the Deadbeats, Indy rock has seen a recent surge in indie rock.

From the weepy-eyed anthems of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s to the frantic eclecticism of newcomers Everthus the Deadbeats, Indy rock has seen a recent surge in indie rock.

Jack Shepler, 22, is ready to document the trend with his Muncie-based site www.rockmusicreview.com. The site serves as a free online music review source for both local and national bands.

On April 18, the site’s writers released their first mix tape, a compilation of local and national music they favor.

The goal: To distribute 1,000 of the tapes, which are available at Luna Music and Indy CD & Vinyl.

What was the purpose behind Rock Music Review?

It was just something that I liked doing. (So I said to a friend of mine,) ‘Let’s start Rock Music Review, and we’ll have album reviews and live reviews.’ Plus I had taken photos at concerts before, and I really liked it and started getting into photography. So it also gave me an outlet to be able to do that. And I’m a huge Internet nerd. So that just kind of became the project I put all my effort into.

What gave you the idea to do the mix tape?

I wanted to come up with some kind of promotional idea for Rock Music Review, and at first I looked at blank tape prices and I was like, ‘Wow, these are cheap. I’ll just buy these, I’ll put the logo on the cassette and tape them up everywhere like fliers.’

I was originally planning on not even putting music on them and making it kind of a statement, like, ‘Hey, use this cassette, or if nothing else, go to the Web site.’ Then I decided I might as well get music on it, so I worked with the writers and came up with songs that we wanted to see on it . . .. Side A is all bands from Indiana . . . mostly indie and folk and stuff like that, and then on Side B, it’s mostly dancey kind of music.

Why did you decide to use tapes instead of CDs?

Just because I know when I go to the local music store there’s always the free bin of CDs and there’s tons and tons of free compilation CDs. I just thought it would be intriguing to walk into a music store and see free mix tapes instead of compilation CDs. It’s not necessarily just to get attention. Plus it plays into the whole ‘blank tapes killed the music industry’ thing, because clearly they didn’t. Clearly CDs didn’t either, or blank CDRs. The whole idea is that MP3s aren’t going to kill it either. It’s just going to evolve.

How important do you think sites like yours are?

I don’t think it’s necessarily important to people that are already into local music, although it does encourage bands to keep going and keep at it when they get a good word in. But I think, more important than that, is it shows people that there is more music than what’s on MTV.

Good music doesn’t just come from the big five labels, or even labels in general. All the bands that get famous had to start somewhere. If you pay attention to local music, and you support a band that’s really good and they become famous, it feels good. It’s like, ‘Hey, I know those guys. Good for them.’

Plus, local music is where music evolves from. The new sounds don’t suddenly happen out of nowhere — they come from somewhere, some scene.

So I guess music publications and whatnot help that process of music evolving and people actually knowing about it, and being able to find it.